Scattershooting: UVA hoops returns; Recruiting rankings, TV ratings, Bronco news & more

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Photo: UVA Athletics

Scattershooting around the ACC, while snacking on Frank Smith’s patented cheese and sausage muffins …

Virginia (9-2) will be back in action on Tuesday night (7 o’clock, ACC Network) when the Cavaliers close out their nonconference schedule against Rent-A-Victim Morgan State (4-10). This will only be UVA’s second game since Dec. 5, due to exam and Christmas breaks, so if the Cavaliers look a little disjointed, there’s good reason.

The Wahoos were dominated by Memphis in the last outing when they came apart in the second half. It will be interesting to see what Tony Bennett may experiment with over the next few games: Morgan State, Notre Dame, Louisville, in order to prepare for the meat of the schedule later on.

UVA plays at Notre Dame (5-7) on Saturday (noon, ACC Network) and the Irish aren’t very good. They lost by 20 to The Citadel, which was their fifth loss in six games, before beating Marist, 60-56 a few days ago.

Recruiting rankings

With the transfer portal closing in a few days (Jan. 2 … it will reopen again April 15-30), Virginia has fared pretty well.

The three major recruiting services — 247Sports, On3 and Rivals — keep track of the transfer portal comings and goings, and UVA’s rankings have jumped up with the seven players signed or committed thus far (more are likely on the way this week or in April).

On3 ranks Virginia’s transfer class as the 17th-best in the nation, while Rivals rates the class at No. 24 and 247 ranks the Cavaliers No. 32.

That helps make up for a high school recruiting class that actually slipped in the rankings following signing day. Virginia’s 13-man high school class was rated No. 85 nationally by Rivals (down from No. 71), No. 80 by 247 (down from No. 76) and No. 71 by On3 (remained the same).

A look at the ACC portal

Last year it was Florida State that took advantage of the transfer portal and dramatically changed its roster, with what was rated the No. 1 transfer class in the nation.

This year, Louisville is hoping to make a jump. Of all the ACC schools, Louisville has signed the most transfers out of the portal with 15.

Pittsburgh and Boston College have signed 9 each, while California, Georgia Tech, NC State and SMU have each signed 8.

Virginia and Syracuse have signed 7 from the portal so far, then there’s a dropoff.

North Carolina, Miami and Wake Forest have each signed 4 players, while Virginia Tech has signed 3, Duke 2 and Florida State only 1.

Clemson and Stanford have not signed a single player from the portal thus far.

Who Won the State of Virginia Recruiting?

Depends on if you consider quality over quantity. According to 247Sports rankings of the state’s top 50 prospects, it would appear that Virginia Tech won the state, signing four of the top 15. However, Georgia signed two of the top three prospects in the state, both linebackers: No. 1 Chris Cole of Salem and No. 3 Kristopher Jones of Fairfax.

The No. 2 prospect, from Norfolk, signed with South Carolina. No. 4, from Leesburg, signed with Florida and No. 5, also from Salem, signed with another SEC school, Tennessee.

The Hokies signed Nos. 6, 8, 12 and 14. Virginia signed No. 13 John Rogers, a tight end from Alexandria and No. 20 Kameron Courtney, a wide receiver from Woodbridge (who we think should have been rated higher).

Of the rest of the top 25 in the state, Maryland, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Minnesota, West Virginia, Pitt, Wake Forest, Syracuse, Liberty and Eastern Michigan (huh?) got one each.

Note: Penn State and North Carolina, which have been getting quality players out of the state for years, were shut out of the top 25. UNC had one of the top 50 (No. 47), but Penn State didn’t land a single one.

Three of the top 50 haven’t signed as of this writing. UVA also landed No. 30 Ben York, an offensive lineman from Burke, and No. 45 Ethan Minter, an athlete from Chester.

Of the players 26-48, Wake Forest signed 4, Maryland 2, JMU 2, and Clemson, Duke, BC, ECU and Stanford got one each. Seven of those have not yet signed.

Bronco creating UVA ‘West’

While former UVA coach Bronco Mendenhall is getting some of the band back together, hiring former defensive coordinator Nick Howell and former offensive coordinator Jason Beck to head his “new” New Mexico Lobos staff, Mendenhall has also tapped into the Orange & Blue bloodline for some of his coaching staff.

Among the former Cavaliers hired by Bronco are: Donte Wilkins, Matt Johns, Joe Spaziani and Evan Butts. He also hired former UVA assistant line coach Famika Anae, former UVA defensive graduate assistant Kirk Garner, and former Wahoo grad assistant Charles Mack, along with former UVA associate football strength and conditioning coach Nate Pototschnik. He also hired former UVA director of scouting and player development Pat Hickman.

Hootie’s Golden Nuggets

  • Former UVA wide receiver Demick Starling has received an offer from out west … yes, you guessed it, from Bronco Mendenhall’s New Mexico Lobos. He is the second former Wahoo to be offered by Mendenhall, joining Lex Long.
  • According to the Nielsen ratings, the 18 most-watched college football teams included only one ACC team, Florida State (10th, with an average of 4.16 million viewers per game). The top 18: 1. Alabama (7.12 million per game); 2. Michigan (7.11); 3. Ohio State (7.04); 4. Colorado (6.0); 5. Georgia (5.9); 6. Tennessee (4.57); 7. Oregon (4.43); 8. Penn State (4.28); 9. Texas (4.26); 10. FSU (4.26); 11. Notre Dame (4.15); 12. Washington (4.14); 13. LSU (3.79); 14. USC (3.77); 15. Auburn (3.55); 16. Missouri (3.25); 17. Florida (3.17); 18. Iowa (3.13).
  • Here is a breakdown of how ACC teams fared in TV viewership: 1. FSU (4.26 million average per game); T2. Louisville (1.82); T2. Clemson (1.82); 4. Duke (1.51); 5. Miami (1.45); 6. North Carolina (1.08); 7. Georgia Tech (930k); 8. Syracuse (887k) 9. Pitt (763k); 10. NC State (737k); 11. Virginia (703k); 12. Boston College (665k); 13. Wake Forest (514k); 14. Virginia Tech 511k). 
  • Virginia Tech coach Brent Pry didn’t mind crowing a bit when Penn State was mentioned with recruiting in the state of Virginia. Pry, formerly co-defensive coordinator for the Nittany Lions, took a jab at Penn State over the recently announced recruiting classes. Tech signed four of the state’s top 15 prospects (according to 247Sports rankings), while Penn State failed to sign a single player from the state of Virginia. “All them other schools came calling. The Ohio Staters, the Nittany Cryin’s …”
  • What’s wrong with this picture? Arch Manning made more than $3.2 million in NIL money this year as a backup quarterback at Texas. Meanwhile, Brock Purdy, who is in the mix as MVP of the NFL, is being paid $870,000 for this season.
  • Our apologies for no “Jerry & Jerry Show” this week, due to holiday stuff, but we’ll be back live next Tuesday morning at 10:15 a.m. If you’d be interested in advertising on the show, please contact Jerry Miller. We would like to expand to two days a week, but we can’t do that without advertisers.